Gambia’s government has prolonged the mandate of West African troops deployed to flush out former president, Yahya Jammeh.
The regional troops are tasked with protecting the country and its officials as the new administration struggles with rebuilding the local military.
Gambia’s military has been blamed, for the most part, for the deployment of the ECOMIG force. It took no action to force Jammeh to leave after he lost elections and refused to cede power.
Jammeh has been long backed by the military, where he continues to have loyalists. Dozens of Gambian soldiers have been arrested since his ouster for taking part in human rights abuses and crimes against the state.
A handful of mass graves has been discovered and the remains of some of Jammeh’s perceived enemies, including three dissents that attempted to oust the autocratic ruler in December 2014, were unearthed.
The Gambia’s military was regarded the strength and lifeline of Jammeh’s abuses. A special force, foreign trained paramilitary hit squad called the Jungulars carried out killings and tortures for Jammeh.
New leader Adama Barrow says the military will be reformed. A vetting process will be the first after it emerged Jammeh had foreign fighters, mostly from neighboring Casamance recruited into the military.